Once the capital of Awadh, Lucknow still resonates with the glory of nawabs and the aroma of the kebabs. To explore this city one can expend a lifetime but I am trying to share the heart and soul of Lucknow so as to fully understand what is in store for us at Lucknow.
1. Rumi Darwaza: To start the exploration of this lovely city it is best to start at a gateway as beautiful and attractive as the Rumi Darwaza. This gateway is very much in use till date unlike the other gateways in many Indian cities. One can see locals rushing past through the darwaza but I suggest it is a place to spend time examining and admiring the creation. This gateway was built by Nawab Asaf-ud-daulah in 1784 and till date stands tall as one of the finest structure in Lucknow.
2. Bara Imambara: Its time to get awed by this massive structure, Bara Imambara, which was completed in 1791 and was a relief measure to provide employment to the famine struck people of Awadh. It is a structure of architectural marvel as the ceiling of the this grand structure is without any beam. Locals call this place as “Bhool Bholaiya” as the building houses a central chamber with eight chambers surrounding the same. These chambers and passages that are interconnected form the effect of maze thus got its local name.
3. Tunde ke Kebab: The chowk is the heart and soul of old Lucknow and the soul of the market is undoubtedly food. And when food and Lucknow are spoken together one cannot miss talking about Tunde ke kebab. These kebabs has reputation as strong and good as Lucknow’s heritage. When at the shop one can enjoy these sumptuous delicacies as well as stories of the shopkeeper. As per him these kebabs are so finely minced because Nawab Asaf-ud-daulah lost his teeth early in life but he did not loose out his taste buds and yearning for the kebabs. Thus came into existence the Gulati kebabs which melt in your mouth without the use of teeth.
4. The Residency: Residency is the place that has a group of buildings that once was the adobe of the British Resident at the court of Nawab. The Archaeological Survey of India needs to be applauded for maintaining the sanctity of this structure in the same form as left by the British.
5. Dilkusha: Do not miss to check out the building in the quietest parts of the city-the Dilkusha. The construction is very British as was built by the then Resident as a hunting lodge and was later on converted into a summer palace for the Nawab. Later on in 1857 this building suffered damage due to a excessive fighting. Today it is one of the serene locations for unwinding amidst lush green lawns.
6. Hazratganj: To hang out in Hazratganj, popularly known as “Ganjing” in local lingo, is the best time of exploring Lucknow. It is a best place for all shopaholics as best of the outlets of Indian handicrafts are available here. But not to miss out that Hazratganj is also a foodie’s delight as it offers options for fast food as well as authentic food like the Lucknawi Biryani, Afgani Prantha, Nargisi Kebabs, dahi aalo tikki and Pani Batashas.
Do plan a two day trip to check out this city of Nawabs and kebabs completely. And I bet everyone visiting Lucknow will be completely engulfed in the indulgent spirit of this royal city.